Latin America & Caribbean

Police uses tear gas in row at Brazil World Cup stadium

Arena Fonte Nova stadium, Brazil
The Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Bahia, at the time of construction in February

Police in Brazil have used tear gas and smoke grenades to break up clashes between fans who were trying to buy tickets for the inaugural match in a stadium built for the 2014 World Cup.

The football fans had queued overnight at a ticket office in the north-eastern state of Bahia, but fighting broke out as soon as it opened.

The Arena Fonte Nova stadium cost $330m (£217m) - about $50m over budget.

Meanwhile, a builder was killed in an accident at another world cup venue.

Raimundo Nonato Lima Costa, 49, a construction worker at the Amazon Arena in Manaus, reportedly fell from a height of about 5m (16 feet).

Maracana delays

Nobody was arrested after the clashes at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, police said.

The company in charge of the new stadium issued a statement saying it would improve on the shortcomings that became apparent on Friday.

Witnesses said there were no barriers to separate the ticket booth queues.

Lately, a series of events have led to criticism of Brazil's planning for the world's biggest football event.

The inauguration date of iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, set to host the final next year, has been delayed repeatedly.

Originally due reopening in December 2012, its first match is now scheduled for 27 April.

Last week, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro added to the embarrassment closing the stadium due to host the athletics events at the 2016 Olympics, which was being used to replace Maracana at major football matches.

The Joao Havelange stadium was serving as the main football venue in Rio

Eduardo Paes told the media that a structural survey revealed a risk of the roof of collapsing at certain circumstances, including winds over 60km/h (40mph).

The stadium built in 2007 – and also massively over budget – is to remain shut as a safety measure until further notice, but the organisers of the Olympic Games say they are confident it will be ready in time for 2016.

Elsewhere, the president of Corinthians, the Brazilian club in charge of building the Itaquera stadium in Sao Paulo, recently admitted its construction could be stopped for lack of cash, which might risk it failing to be ready on time for the competition.

The stadium is due to host the opening match of the World Cup.

The president of the international football body Fifa, Sepp Blatter, recently said he was confident Brazil would finish preparations in time for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, a smaller tournament that takes place a year before.

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